Hello Woodham – And, Er , Purleigh.

The District Council Website has a page here on the current review of parliamentary constituencies. There is a public consultation running until December 5th.

You can find the detailed proposals for our local constituencies here.

The main proposed changes for South East Essex are:

  • The three Wickford wards move from “Rayleigh and Wickford” constituency to “Basildon and Billericay”.
  • Two council wards in Pitsea will move into Castle Point.
  • Two Castle Point wards  (St James and Victoria) will move into Southend West
  • One ward -Ashingdon and Canewdon – will move from the old Rayleigh and Wickford Ward into Rochford and Southend West.
  • “Rayleigh and Wickford” constituency is losing Wickford but will have Bicknacre, Rettendon Runwell, two of the Hanningfields plus South Woodham. So it will be renamed “Rayleigh and  Woodham Ferrers “.
  • According to the proposals, “Rayleigh and Woodham Ferrers” will also gain one ward from Maldon – namely Purleigh.  We have to say this is a bit of a surprise, Woodham Ferrers has been part of a Rayleigh constituency before but a bit of Maldon hasn’t been part of the same constituency as Rayleigh since 1832.
  • These boundary changes are happening because the government is deliberating reducing the numbers of MPs in the UK, which doesn’t sound particularly democratic.  It seems a bad omen that the last time that a MP represented both Rayleigh and a part of Maldon, in 1832, he was the ludicrously named William Pole-Tylney-Long Wellesley ( yes he had a quadruple- barrelled name) and is  described by Wikipedia as “an Anglo-Irish Nobleman with a notoriously dissipated lifestyle”. This fellow has a good claim to be the worst Tory MP of all time. (Just read the Wikipedia article)
  • We also wonder whether Purleigh has much in common with Rayleigh, apart from similar names.

If you aren’t happy with these proposals, have a look at the Boundary Commision Report, at the end they give enough information on the number of voters in each council ward for you to make your own proposals. but constituencies have to have between 71031 and 78507 electors – without Purleigh, Rayleigh and Woodham Ferrers will fall short.


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  • Obviously a very complex issue ( and worrying ) – are we actually now returning the old days of ‘rotten boroughs’ etc; ?, think about it ……..
    Conservatives in Government virtually unopposed ( Labour in meltdown
    and only a handful of others – not enough to be credible ).
    Local Government Conservative dominated ( via Cabinet system ).
    A ‘first past the post’ voting system ( no proportional representation – like
    Brexit was !!!!! ) , they obviously got that wrong then.
    And now let’s fiddle with Boundary System to tie it all up nicely for the future,
    given credibility by the Boundary Commission – about as credible as the
    Government Planning Inspectors signing off flood plain housing proposals and infrastructure shortfalls therein ……
    We are sleep walking back to feudal times , you will need to doff your cap soon folks.

  • Thinking overnight, I’ve realised that these proposals could be worse. The main thing is that Rayleigh isn’t being split up . (Which was suggested before in previous proposals, with southern Rayleigh going into Castle Point).

    But having Purleigh included isn’t ideal, either for Purleigh or the rest of the constituency.With the number of MPs being reduced, they are all going to be further stretched in covering their local casework in addition to their legislative duties. Having one ward in a completely different district adds a little extra to the MPs workload, in that they will have to get to know and maintain effective working relations with a whole extra set of council officers (and I suppose councillors).
    In terms of party political impact, I don’t think it will affect the Conservative vote much, though losing Wickford will weaken UKIP.

    And that MP from 1832 looks like a real pantomine villain.

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